China Hutch

The 1950’s china cabinet that is being refinished and painted.

I have never considered myself a furniture refinishing kind of gal. I was right After getting my lovely 1950’s china cabinet - was it only last week?? I knew, for my style, it had to be painted. None of this “blonde” wood tone my mother was gaga about in 1960.

Day One

So, after trial and error at the paint store I finally dove into the crafty waters of Shabby Chic Lake, sans goggles or flotation device. I knew, I would be in it all alone except for my best furniture refinishing friend. Who just moved to Hawaii? What kind of friend does that? (Is that even allowed?)

After getting swallowed by clouds of white spray paint and discovering fume headaches aren’t fun, I put large fans in the windows and gazed upon the miserable, splotchy results on the inside of my cabinet. I wasn’t happy at all. I envisioned giving the thing an once-over with a spray can, and my fun job would be done. WRONG!

Day Two

Back to the place with the “Helpful hardware man.” My store is delightfully staffed by women who have worked there a minimum of 17 years or so. One of them told me she has gallons of unmixed base paint stored at home, in the event she ever wants to paint something. “It was on sale.” However, she admitted choosing a color is a problem.

Twice, she mixed 1/2 oz. white to the mint green chalk paint I selected for the exterior. She assured me I was only $5 away from getting the color I wanted. There goes the grocery budget.

Day Three

It was back to the store the next day to choose a creamy, pale yellow satin to ‘redo’ the interior.

The store gave me a stir stick and a paint can opener. I felt rich. I admitted to the lady (my new BFF) that I was scared. A male customer reassured me that “It’s only scary until you begin.” I felt provisioned and supported. Thanks Ace!

I bought a little roller, brush, and paint tray kit from the dollar store. I saw the foam brushes, the edger, tape, and cleaning supplies. I decided I could do without all that. I didn’t plan on being messy and couldn’t afford the fancy stuff anyway.

I dug out some ‘old’ masking tape and a can of artificial turpentine I bought in 2000, when I thought I was going to artistically paint rungs on chairs different colors, add wild imaginative paintings, and paisley patterns. Never happened.  Do you suppose I should throw out (dispose of responsibly) the paint I bought for that project? I’m not one to waste.

I sort of taped a few edges and a few hinges with the woozy tape from Christmas. I taped some newspaper over some large glass areas and called it good. I didn’t go too crazy prepping. My style was to dive in and improvise as I went along. I held up some newspaper as an edger to save with clean up. Only thing is, is it gets sticky with paint and carries the paint along in a colorful trail when one moves it to the next spot. Then it falls on your new black slippers. (I knew, if I bothered to put on paint appropriate clothing, I would get scared and never begin.) It’s helpful to know one’s self.

Day Four

Who knew there was so much trim work in a four door, five drawer cabinet?! I am still working on it. I took a break from that and tackled a larger area with a mini-roller, knowing I still have “miles to go before I sleep.” Being conscientious, I’ve told myself I have to go back, yet again, and do finish work with the pale yellow for trim. Did I mention I am not a craft person?

Clean up is a breeze. My time between breaks and when I ultimately quit painting each day is not long. My back decides for me. And the next thing I know I am at the sink washing out my brush, which I’ve decided is not a loyal friend. It digs long trails into the chalk paint.

I get it; it’s supposed to be rustically shabby chic, but this is ridiculous. It leaves long tracks I will have to go over with the roller. I believe a sponge brush is in order. Any advice coming from Hawaii on that? Nooooo!

Speaking of clean-up, it’s a good thing my floor is tile, and the paint kit included little plastic gloves - the professional kind you get when you’re coloring your hair. And I’ve got this 20 year old artificial paint remover. They weren’t kidding on the label when they said it’s odorless.  I also think it now lacks any chemical properties that remove paint either.  A product ought to last at least 20 years, don’t you think?

My son stopped by for coffee. I was overly pleased and amazingly surprised when he seemed to genuinely like the color I chose. But I don’t know what this thing he mentioned is -- a “second coat”?

P.S. Does anyone know if they still sell razor blades?

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